5 reasons to visit Tunisia
For those seeking adventure, Tunisia is the perfect holiday destination for the trip of a lifetime. This North African country is bordered on one side by the Mediterranean sea and on the other side by Algeria. Along its long coastline you can enjoy a hot Mediterranean climate freshened by the sea breeze, while inland it’s hot and arid, with areas of desert. Tunisia saw a decline in tourism after the events of 2015, but this extraordinary country is now considered safe and intrepid tourists are returning in numbers – it’s now reportedly one of the top five fastest growing tourist destinations in the world.
Ancient Ruins of Carthage
The ruins of the ancient city of Carthage are located close to the centre of Tunisia’s capital, Tunis. It is easily accessed by both train and taxi. This extraordinary 6th Century city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once a powerful trading capitol which rivalled Rome. The most famous Carthaginian, the general Hannibal, once led his army, complete with elephants, over the Alps to surprise the Roman Army! Eventually, Carthage was sacked by Rome and later became the centre of the Roman Empire in Africa. This long history means there are ruins to explore from the Punic and later Roman period. The site is huge, so allow plenty of time to explore. You will want to take in the Archaeological Park, where you can stroll around the ruins of Roman streets. Close by are both the public baths and the ruins of the Basilica of Douimès.
Medina of Tunis
Once back in Tunis you will want to explore the Medina of Tunis or Old Town. In fact, it dates back to the 9th century when it was surrounded by high walls. These have long since crumbled, but you will find romantic narrow streets of whitewashed buildings and over 700 historical monuments including mosques, villas, gates and fountains. There are covered souks to explore where you can pick up a souvenir. Tunisia is famous for its carpets, ceramics, leather slippers and intricate handicrafts made from silver gilt and intricate wood veneers. This is a perfect opportunity to practice your haggling skills.
With 713 miles of Mediterranean coastline, Tunisia is the perfect place to explore the water and offers some wonderful sites to dive. Beginners might want to check out one of the resort towns around Cap Bon where the conditions are steady and the water shallow. In Hammamet you can explore several wrecks, sunk in the Second World War and submerged only 15 metres below the surface. Nature lovers might want to visit the Galite Islands. This is a designated nature reserve comprised of seven small islands. It is home to coral reefs harbouring endangered species and a colony of seals. Advanced divers will find plenty to challenge them in Tabarka, the site of the largest coral reef in the Mediterranean. Here the brave can explore Tunnels Reef – a system of tunnels covering 500 meters!
Over 30% of Tunisia is covered by the mighty Sahara desert which extends into neighbouring Algeria and Libya. It is a magnificent place to visit. You can find tours that will take you in just to enjoy the sun setting over the sand dunes. Alternatively, take a camel trek and stay overnight in a Bedouin camp.
If all that doesn’t tempt you then perhaps the food will. Tunisian cuisine is a fiery meeting between Mediterranean and North African culinary traditions. Expect mezze style dishes, flatbreads, couscous and spicy harissa. Be sure to try some of the many sweets like yo-yo’s, a freshly fried doughnut flavoured with orange and drenched in honey syrup.